Over the years, Ghana’s quest to see a thriving poultry subsector has been saddled with a number of challenges from access to soft loans for poultry farmers to competing with cheap imported products.
These setbacks have literally crippled the sub-sector with the country’s economy bearing the brunt due to heavy importation.
Addressing this is said to require all stakeholders putting their shoulders to the wheel.
Two Ghanaian businesses, Rockland Farms producers of Rockland Meat and importer of frozen foods, Labianca Company Ltd have gone into partnership which will see the latter off take products under the name Akoko Tasty from the former.
At a ceremony in Tema to announce the partnership, Chief Executive of Rockland Farms, Edith Akosah Wheatland told Joy Business she is excited for this but cost of feed is impacting on pricing of the products.
“Rockland is doing something beneficial for the whole country. Currently, besides FDA [Food and Drugs Authority] and other institutions’ certification, we’re working with Agric Ministry to certify all farmers who want to join to ensure standardization”
“Continuous funding for production at a special rate could go a long way in maize and soya bean production needed to process the feed,” she added.
At the moment, the company is doing about 700 boxes of 10 kilos of Akoko Tasty daily with a target to raise eight million birds per year.
Prior to this partnership, Rockland’s biggest constraints like other farms were marketing and cost of production, but Labianca is handling the marketing bit.
Chief Executive Officer of Labianca Company Ltd, Eunice Jacqueline Asomah Hinneh in her speech urged government to create enabling environment for local production of the poultry feed.
“Producing the feed is a challenge. If the situation remains same it will be impossible to compete with the importers. Two years ago, Labianca decided to venture into poultry by raising 20,000 birds. Sadly, we lost everything,” she recounted.
From this bitter experience, Labianca sees the need to produce its own feed.
“We’ve acquired land in the Bono region to produce maize. This is part of the plans to end importation of feed to help bring down the cost of the chicken. I’m happy Akoko Tasty has taken off as part of effort of being self-sufficient locally”
“We want to support Edith Akosah by giving her the maize we’re currently producing to make her products competitive. Once the issue of feed is addressed leading to cheap prices, it will discourage importation,” she said.
Eunice Jacqueline Asomah Hinneh pleaded with all importers, banks, government agencies and other stakeholders to support this national goal.
“You will be amazed to know that the locally produced chicken tastes better, much fresh and lean compared to imported ones”
Meanwhile, Deputy Agric Minister in charge of Livestock, Mohammed Hardi Turferu said government will continue to rollout programmes and policies to improve poultry subsector.
“Ghana Care Obaatanpa programme is having an impact on the industry and this has gotten attention of a lot of institutions who have bought into government’s vision of increasing domestic meat production and job creation. Rearing for Food and Jobs launched in 2019 was aimed at efficient livestock industry”
He encouraged poultry farmers to increase production as the partnership between Labianca and Rockland will be beneficial to the entire poultry subsector.
He assured that government will invest resources aside policies and programmes for the development of the poultry subsector to meet demand beyond Ghana.
“Under Savannah Improvement Programme, government is investing over 25 million euros in the value chain of maize and soya bean production and would be replicated here in the south,”
“With this government is bearing land cost, preparation of the land running several hectares, 40% subsidy on inputs and the farmer only pays back in kind”, he added.
According to him, these steps are being taken to address challenges with accessing feed for poultry farmers as the situation also presents opportunity for those interested in feed production locally to end importation.
At the end of the event, participants had the chance to taste barbecue chicken from Rockland.